TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Efforts to pass legislation requiring employers to verify the immigration status of employees passed both a House and Senate committee Monday.
The on again, off again legislation is getting a final push by the Governor’s Office, and a family that knows first hand what it’s like to lose a loved one as the result of illegal immigrants.
Kiyan and Bobby Michael are the faces of what can go wrong with an open border.
“This is our son, Brandon Randolph Michael. He was 21 years old,” said Kiyan.
Their son Brandon was hit and killed in 2007 by a truck driven by an immigrant here illegally.
“He was lured her, the illegal who killed him, by a job. He was working illegally,” said Kiyan.
Hiring someone known to be in the US illegally is already against state and federal law. This legislation allows the Department of Law Enforcement and others to investigate.
“The state law enforcement agencies identified in the statute have the ability to then go and request those documents,” said House sponsor Representative Rep. Cord Byrd.
Beginning in July, contractors seeking state incentives would have to prove they did an E-verify check.
Private employers must be on board before Jan.1, 2021.
“This bill doesn’t carve out certain industries. It doesn’t carve out certain sized businesses. And I appreciate that,” said Rep. Nick DiCeglie.
One of the key reasons the legislation is starting move is the Governor’s involvement.
Senate Sponsor Tom Lee once threatened to vote against his own bill following a dubious amendment weakening the immigration checks.
Now he’s optimistic.
“There’ll be some ups and downs along the way in the next couple of weeks, but aI feel really good that we are going to get something resolved here,” said Lee.
The Michaels said they are in the fight until the end.
“It’s not easy. It’s not easy, because we know that when we go home and unpack, our son’s snot coming home,” said Kiyan.
Employers would not be required to run immigration checks on any employees already working before Jan. 1, 2021.